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  • Boundaries: How to Define, Set, and Keep Them

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    Boundaries: How to Define, Set, and Keep Them

    What is a boundary?

    Depending on your childhood or personality, the idea of a boundary may sound terrifying OR may sound like something you are all too familiar with.

    Boundary setting with your partner or loved ones doesn’t have to be scary, but can instead work to bring you closer and make the relationship a safe place for both people involved.

    Personal boundaries

    • Define who we are, and let us know where we end and other people begin
    • Let us have healthy relationships with others
    • Help us balance our priorities with demands from others

    Okay, so how do we set them?

    There are three parts to setting a boundary with somebody who’s doing something you cannot tolerate:

    • Describe the behavior you find unacceptable (When you…)
      • Be objective when describing their behavior and keep this part short
    • Describe how you feel when they engage in that behavior (I feel…)
      • Depending on the type of relationship this can also sound like “I will…”
    • Set the boundary and describe how you will protect it

    *If you set boundaries and do not enforce them, it gives the other person an excuse to continue with the same behavior

    Here is why it is scary – You cannot simultaneously set a boundary with someone and take care of their feelings. They may be hurt, angry or disappointed with you.

    Remember, it is your responsibility to take care of and protect yourself. When you set boundaries, you are also taking care of the relationship as a whole. Try your hardest to be clear, objective, and void of anger.

    When you first begin to set boundaries you may feel ashamed, afraid, or anxious. Be prepared to follow through by acting in congruence with the boundaries you set. There’s a satisfying side to setting boundaries-it feels good.

    This helps to keep the relationship a safe place for both people involved.

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